This trip has been physically and mentally challenging for me. We’ve been cycling for 10 1/2 days straight and finally we’re taking a break for a while. It’s been extremely hot and since we have been cycling an average of 70-80 miles each day, it’s been especially frustrating on the hills. I never knew it would be so difficult until I actually experienced waking up everyday at 6 in the morning and cycling until I reached another town which takes about 7-8 hours.
While I’m desperately cycling as fast as I can, it seems like an endless journey since it’s deserted and it seems like there’s hardly any civilization unless you reach a city. So far I have been seeing full fields of corn, wheat and farmland. It may not be my ideal utopia but the landscape is beautiful, full of mountain like hills and fresh non toxic environment that is rare to find these days.
Although, sometimes I wonder why I’m on this trip. I feel incredibly strong to be doing this and fascinated by how much I have accomplished. In addition, I like the experience of staying away from home for a very long time and having time for myself. Traveling with just a bike is a memorable experience. It has been a truly incredible trip although it has only been 2 weeks and the journey has just started.
What I noticed last night was that not only are we on a schedule (although, not yet keeping to it as perfectly as we would like) so is the wind. We rise begin cycling and almost like clockwork the wind begins picking up during the 8am hour and continues on until somewhere in the 9pm hour (there roundabouts); seriously! It’s done it for the last 4 days that I’ve noticed. Hopefully, it won’t prove me wrong tomorrow.
So, after a beautiful sunset last night there was a storm coming thru the campsite at Northpointe Recreation Center but it wasn’t the type we normally experience out east. It was a dry lightning storm. We battened down the tents and listened as the wind rustled and whipped everything in its path. When asked what they thought about the storm the girls answered “what storm?” Seems they slept right thru it. It must be great to not have a care in the world.
The morning’s ride began with an uphill out of the park. It was a fitting warm up; just enough of an incline to wake you up and not have you mind it so much. Being DFL Leader (DF2L) I now have a DFLL in-training with Itza, my co-pilot. Suepinda was able to join us today and we all rode DFL with dragonflies buzzing about us like dolphins to a ship. We had a combine truck pass us and we did something different in moving onto the other side of the road since he was taking up much of the shoulder and road at the same time. I think he appreciated that, as did we.
With the wind in our faces the three of us caught up with Kate and rode beside her for a number of miles. Itza and I started a game to break up the monotony by racing downhill as fast as we can while I call out the current speed. We were impressed with our best time of the morning with 37 mph; an improvement from yesterday’s robbery of 24.9 mph. But eventually we found another hill where we were able to get up to 40 mph. Suepinda and Kate got up to 37 mph. Their best time to date! We didn’t tell them that 40 was faster than 37, but I think they knew.
Me being a lover of grande vistas I took lots of pictures but realized they meant nothing without the context of a cyclist in the picture. Oh well. But South Dakota, I would say, is home to the rolling hillsides. Miles and miles of rolling hills. What a site. I can’t wait until I see mountains in the background or grande vista. Working on my Spanish this summer: learned to say “Hola, vaca negra, hola, vaca kaffe”
To remind us that we are in the very deepest of the country we only witnessed a few oncoming vehicles and almost NONE coming up behind us for miles. Wow. That’s why I’m DF2L. Because in the country, to quoting one of my favorite movies, “no one can hear you scream”. As we rode on eventually more vehicles past us and two of them were trucks carrying hogs. Dripping, oozing, leaking a foul substance that clung to the road like a paint. And being up wind we began to travel what we now call the “Trail of Stench”! The wretchedness lasted consistently for almost two miles as we could not get away from the headwinds which faithfully brought to us every molecule of that strange substance.
At the campsite tonight the youth cyclists played “Ninja”. A game where they get two moves, defensive and offensive to either block or hit the other opponent’s hand. That’s all I can explain but it looks fun.
Tomorrow we plan to continue with the tailwinds and make good time to Fort Thompson.
Cycled 76 miles today, passed dead frog lane, rode on flat straight endless roads, and got chased by ducks. Also got to see cute little muskrats 🙂 Now camping at Lewis & Clark Heritage City Park in SOUTH DAKOTA! (Lewis & Clark ACTUALLY camped here!!!!!!)
Oh and still not tired.
Can’t wait for tomorrow!